CIB’s fintech investments drive regional innovation

Early fintech adoption has catapulted Commercial International Bank Egypt SAE (CIB) to the forefront of the region's banking revolution. Chief Operating Officer, Mohamed Sultan explains how the bank's expansion strategy used technology to tap unbanked segments of Egypt and Africa.


This article was sponsored by CIB

CIB Egypt made an early strategic investment in technology to develop your banking platform. How has this given the bank a competitive advantage in the region?

Our early adoption of digital banking gave us a head start on the challenges posed by the pandemic. We were able to continue providing customers with digital services and products that serve their day-to-day needs from the comfort of their homes, ensuring their safety and decreasing branch visits. Our customer-centric approach, coupled with our digital transformation strategy, presaged our leading position in the field of digital innovation and banking technology development in Egypt and the MENA -region.

How does your digital platform facilitate your regional expansion in Africa? What is CIB’s market opportunity in Africa?

We believe digital solutions are an indispensable means of reaching the unbanked and underbanked segments of the region. Our African expansion strategy comes in tandem with our plans to advance banking literacy and promote cross-border integration and business growth in Africa. Through different partnerships across the region, we will harness hybrid technologies to enhance our digital platforms and achieve financial inclusion.

How do customer needs differ in the various markets you serve and have you developed distinct regional products or services tailored to those markets?

Catering to a diverse range of customers definitely requires a more personalized banking experience, and since we strive to become more than just a banking partner, we direct our efforts to adapt our products and services to our customers’ everchanging financial and non-financial needs. In cooperation with the CBE, CIB was one of the first private sector banks to offer governmental Meeza cards, allowing employees to receive their salaries, and perform e-commerce transactions in Egypt.

In keeping with our efforts to support SMEs, we recently revamped CIB Growth, the segment designed for small enterprises, to help companies manage and track their finances, and achieve sustainable growth. CIB Business Online is the latest digital financial solution channel for CIB’s corporate and business banking clients. It offers numerous online solutions to help business customers carry out their business transactions securely and efficiently. Among its features are cash management services, trade finance services, and supply chain finance services.

CIB launched its Women Empowerment Initiative in March 2021 within the framework of the CBE’s Financial Inclusion Initiative that aims to celebrate women’s efforts and bridge the gender gap. We also offer a tailored bundle of products and services that provides women business owners with access to a customized credit program, fast track approvals, and higher credit limits.

For customers between the ages of 21 and 30, we designed a new Prime Me bundle to give them the best value for their money. It allows the younger segment to save big with our BONUS Points program that gives them points on every transaction or purchase, which can be redeemed for exclusive discounts.

As businesses and consumers are increasingly relying on digital banking solutions, how is CIB Egypt continuing to innovate its industry-leading products and services, and how are they enabling the bank to better serve customers?

CIB is constantly developing integrated digital products and services to help individuals and companies perform all their banking transactions remotely. Zaki the Bot uses the latest AI technologies to allow customers to easily access the Bank’s products and services in both English and colloquial Arabic, gather key data, and assist in CIB’s digital transformation strategy. We are constantly working on transforming traditional financial services into digitized solutions to provide businesses and consumers with a smooth and efficient banking experience.

Did your digital transformation prepare the bank to service the surge in customer demand for remote banking during the pandemic?

We foresaw the importance of digital banking and acted upon it before the pandemic hit, and while it has certainly been disruptive, we were given the opportunity to continue the digitization process and accommodate the influx of new users. By FY20, the number of individual customers subscribed to Online Banking increased by 35% y-o-y, while the CIB Smart Wallet witnessed an increase of 107% in transactions. CIB ultimately aims to become the leading digital bank in Egypt providing safe and convenient solutions to customers, in addition to playing an integral role in transforming into a cashless society.

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